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NFL roundup: Falcons' stadium plan moves forward; Lions' Hanson retires

The SportsXchange

The Falcons' plan for a $1 billion retractable-roof stadium in downtown Atlanta passed its final significant hurdle Thursday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The paper said that the city's economic development arm approved issuing more than $200 million in bonds covered by city hotel-motel taxes by an 8-1 vote. The team intends to have the stadium completed by 2017.

Mayor Kasim Reed told the Journal-Constitution that the deal will keep the Falcons in Atlanta for the next 30 years.

In a statement, the Falcons said the remaining construction costs will come from the team and other private funds.

--Jason Hanson announced his retirement from the NFL after 21 seasons as the Detroit Lions' kicker.

Hanson, a second-round pick in 1992, opted to retire when a contract agreement couldn't be reached with the Lions for the 2013 season. Hanson said he didn't want to play for another team.

No player in NFL history has played more games with one team (327). The 42-year-old is the NFL-record holder with 52 field goals of 50-plus yards and is third all-time with 2,150 points and 495 field goals.

--Defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who had 20.5 sacks last season, said he was playing at less than 100 percent from Week 1.

Watt dislocated his elbow in the first week of the Houston Texans' training camp, and it remained sore while he played wearing a brace the entire season.

"In the beginning, it definitely affected me," Watt told Sports Radio 610 in Houston. "All the ligaments in there were torn, they were all gone, so they had to have time to recover and regroup. So obviously, I wasn't at full strength."

--The Arizona Cardinals are scheduled to hold a private workout Saturday at USC for quarterback Matt Barkley, according to ESPN.

The Cardinals own the seventh overall pick in the 2013 draft. Despite completing a deal for quarterback Carson Palmer on Tuesday, the Cardinals are still interested in finding a long-term solution at the position. Like Barkley, Palmer is a USC alum.

Barkley also worked out for the Buffalo Bills in Los Angeles on Monday. At his pro day last week, he completed 56 of 62 passes, including two drops, according to USA Today. He didn't attend the NFL Scouting Combine in February because he was resting his injured right shoulder.

--Veteran linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo was released by the Baltimore Ravens, but general manager Ozzie Newsome propped the door open for a potential reunion.

The 10-year veteran is primarily a special teams player. He turns 37 before the start of next season. He had 30 tackles on defense in 2012.

His minimum salary given his total years of NFL service will be more than $900,000 next season. Because he doesn't play in the base defense, Ayanbadejo might be pressed to find work in a role that typically is filled by younger and much cheaper backup defensive players.

--The Falcons released starting right tackle Tyson Clabo, leaving another hole on their offensive line.

The move was designated as a post-June 1 release in order to save the Falcons room under the 2013 salary cap.

Clabo joined the organization in 2005 when he signed with the Falcons' practice squad, and he emerged as one of the better run-blocking right tackles in the NFL. He has started all 101 games he appeared in for Atlanta, including all 16 regular-season games each of the past five seasons.

--Quarterback Pat White signed with Washington, and the Redskins also re-signed cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who was released March 11.

Washington will take a look at White during offseason workouts, but where he potentially fits within the offense remains a question. The team also re-signed Rex Grossman, who served as the third quarterback behind Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins last season.

--The Kansas City Chiefs signed free-agent linebacker Frank Zombo.

Zombo, 26, has played in 25 games in three NFL seasons with the Green Bay Packers, beginning in 2010. He came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent after a collegiate career at Central Michigan.

--Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson took to Twitter to attempt to make light about a potentially hostile situation.

As a photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un surfaced last week with a U.S. map showing potential missile targets, Johnson suggested another potential destination, the Bills' AFC East rivals, the New England Patriots.

"War is nothing to be played with. I apologize North Korea........but if y'all do bomb 1st... Bomb Foxboro, Mass. Sincerely,#BillsMafia," Johnson tweeted.

In response to fan outrage, Johnson apologized a few hours later.

"i know some of yall took it too serious.. but i have Much Respect for The Pats along with Every other NFL Team. Gonna to be a Great #NFL2013."

--With a stated mission to regain traction in the home vs. stadium football experience, the NFL plans to install cameras in the home team locker room to enrich the gameday access of their paying customers.

The league also intends to mandate replays be shown in every stadium after "key plays." In many venues, questionable or disputable calls aren't always replayed on the big screen.

Footage of halftime and postgame from the home team locker room will not be required to be shown by the NFL, but the league will push for teams to make it available to fans on team apps and other mobile platforms.

Commissioner Roger Goodell shared parts of the plan in February, and last year made a commitment to have wireless internet available free of charge in all 32 stadiums by 2013.

There will be no cameras in visitor locker rooms.

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